Festival to beat the winter blues returns to Brightlingsea for second year
A four-day event raising awareness of mental health is returning to Brightlingsea next month.
Last year’s inaugural WinterFest music and arts festival was hailed a success and now founder Alix Sheppard, along with co-organisers Dave Griffiths and Katy Bache, are putting the touches to this year’s event.
Created with the aim of bringing the community together in the darkest days of winter, this year’s festival will also raise money for the local branch of mental health charity MIND.
Beginning on February 4, the festival includes dancing, lantern making, dog walking and a whole host of music events, as well as a lantern parade through the town.
Alix said: “The repercussions of last year’s event were far-reaching for many people. For instance, a local artist who suffered from severe anxiety and depression has been able to draw and exhibit since getting involved last year, and another local man who had suffered with drug and alcohol issues played his first ever set at last year’s acoustic afternoon and now regularly plays at many local events and is working for a local charity.
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“The dog walk also introduced a new group of people and they have been walking together ever since.
“It shows what can happen when the community comes together. This is not just a festival to remember friends we have lost through depression, it is to show solidarity for people who are still suffering and to celebrate all that is good about our community.”
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The programme of events is:
• 8.30pm – Open Mic at Ye Olde Swan
• 9pm – Karaoke The Brewers Arms
• 8.30pm – BandFest at The Kings Head
• 10am-3pm – A day of fun including vintage stalls, cake bake, street dancers, face painting, Tai Chi and more at Brightlingsea Community Centre
• 11am onwards – Lantern building workshop led by artist Suzy Jenkins at the Waterside Gallery
• 2pm – Acoustic Afternoon at The Yachtsmans Arms
• 8.30pm – Live music at The British Legion
• 10am – Winter Walkies family dog walk along the beach to Batemans Cafe, starting at Hurst Green
• 2pm – Open Mic at Ye Olde Swan
• 4.30pm – Lantern parade through town leaving from Waterside Gallery
Alix added: “This year we have a wider range of events and I am confident people will embrace it in the same positive way they did last year.”